Do you know why it's called the net? Because we're caught in it.
That's a paraphrase of a quote from "Qualityland," the best book I've read this year. It's one of my all-time favorites, and while relationships with books change over time just like relationships with people do, I think this one's going to last my lifetime. It's a remarkable dystopian satire and I love it so much that upon finishing it, I immediately turned back to page one and read it a second time. For da ...more
I'm sure you've already heard about QualityLand, the novel everyone is talking about, but let me tell you about it again! QualityLand is the best, richest, most powerful country in the world! It is formally illegal to refer to Qual ...more
Machines don’t make mistakes."
I can never decide if it's reassuring or alarming when algorithms are very wrong.
Last week, Twitter suggested I expand my timeline by following six subjects: Richard Branson, Football, Manchester United, Premier League (which is football), video games, and hip-hop & rap. I have never had any interest in any kind of sport, and I’ve no idea what prompted the others. Of course, typing that list in a Google Doc on the cloud and then pasti ...more
In 1966, Dennis Jones wrote a sci-fi novel called Colossus: The Forbin Project. Made into a film a few years later, it always seemed to me the perfect complement to Arthur C Clarke’s (and Kubrick’s) story 2001: A Space Odyssey . Neither Jones’s book nor the film caused anything like the cultural splash that Clarke and Kubrick made. This has always struck me as unjust, especially when I encounter pieces like Qualityland which seem to be direct descendants ...more
Androids are a species unto themselves now. In an effort to make all Artificial Intelligence more closely resemble that of humans, a dangerous corner has been turned. ...more
I love books that simultaneously make me laugh and think. That's what good satire does and that's exactly what QualityLand did for me. I don't know how many times I busted out laughing, nor do I know how many times I had to pause my reading to share something with my long-suffering partner. Luckily for her, I do most of my reading when she's at work. Perhaps not so luckily for her, I then fill her in on everything as soon as she gets home and is trying ...more
This is hands-down the most interesting and funny and QUALITY SF I've read this year. It should be a shoo-in for a Hugo at the very least.
Not only is it an easy, funny read, but it's also an absolutely scathing a satire with fantastic pacing, dozens of tongue-in-cheek zingers, and a pitch-perfect condemnation of our modern ratings-based society.
I mean, honestly, we ARE all exactly what our profiles say... aren't we? There's NO ONE out there that isn't exactly what the credit agencies ...more
This book is a dystopian set in an extreme consumer-driven world. Basically, a company that is definitely not Amazon has taken over and al ...more
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Qualityland is what happens when Big Business takes over politics and the economy. An online retailer called TheShop is an economic superpower that runs everything and everyone with handy algorithms. So what if they invade your privacy? They know what you want better than yourself, after all. In an odd nod to medieval times, people's surnames are named after their parents' professions, and people are accorded video game-like "levels" bas ...more
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.
Many of my reviews can also be found on instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader ...more
Qualityland is a humorous satire that speculates on how our world could deteriorate with reliance and trust of those that have access to our computer devices. (At least, I think it’s speculative. I’ve upped my paranoia to level 10 a ...more
This is NOT a review.
It’s a messy and incomplete list of the many books, films, theories that are referenced directly and indirectly.
It may be the basis of a Bingo drinking game.
But it’s not a review.
Don’t click to view unless you’ve read the book and want to compare.
Films, books, TV
* Peter Jobless has aspects of
• Kafka’s Josef K
• Orwell’s Winston Smith
• Terry Gilliam’s Sam Lowry (in Brazil)
• Douglas Adams’ ...more
Das Wichtigste zue ...more
So you're off to QualityLand for the first time ever. Are you excited? Yes? And quite rightly so!
QualityLand is set is some distant future (hard to say how distant, but they'll need to defrost the cryogenically-preserved Jennifer Aniston to film more rom-coms when her movies unexpectedly regain popularity), and despite the book itself being pretty funny (in the vein of Douglas Adams or Kurt Vonnegut), the world it describes is dehumanisingly shallow and bleak – and pretty much exactly what w ...more
Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
"What if we live in a world where everything is exact but wrong?
This was quite an interesting read. It was a mash-up of Robopocalypse and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and it was so much fun!
So, what's this book about?
Welcome to QualityLand, the best country on Earth. Here, a universal ranking system determines the social advantages and career opportunities of every member of soci ...more
QualityLand begins by posing the question: what if nearly any problem could be solved by rebranding? Maybe perception truly is more important than reality.
The best rebranding is of the Nuremberg defense, but the other elements are pretty spot-on, too, in this farcical treatise about the unforeseen consequences of data mining, propaganda, and dependence on technology.
Now, let’s take a step back. In terms of the overall message of the book and the leanings of Marc-Uwe Kling, I am sympathetic. Really. Make no mistake, Marc-Uwe Kling is well-intentioned: he sets out to write a science fiction critique of late stage capitalism. The problem is that it’s just not very well executed.
We’ve seen ...more
I burst out cackling in public several times while reading this, so I think it qualifies as quite funny. It's a dystopian future in which algorithms and filter bubbles completely control everyday life. People receive packages they haven't ordered (but are predicted to want) delivered by drones that ...more
Thank you Grand Central Publishing and @librofm for the audio copy of this book that I absolutely loved and enjoyed listening to.
This was initially published in German 2017. QualityLand is part science fiction, part speculative and one hundred percent amazing!
Just imagine a world where data rules everything we do from who we date, what we buy, where we work and what opportunities presented were based on points. Predictive algorithm rules most of the day to day activiti ...more
And besides, Marc-Uwe Kling is a good writer.
I can highly recommend this book.
This satire on capitalism, tech companies and the way our lives are so dependent on algorithms set in a future where all of these things have been taken to an extreme is quite hilarious. The way language is used, or how we live in our own confirmation bias bubbles or even electoral politics - the author makes a lot of fun about all of them but we can also clearly see the parallels to our current reality and that uncanniness was a bit scary too. It’s also very easy to read despite ...more
The premise of 'QualityLand' looked very promising: (dystopic) science-fiction with a good slab of humour. Also perfect to listen to in the car, for example. Although the story takes place in the future, it can really be considered a satire ...more
I read the German edition, in which most trademarks and many punchlines, especially commercial ones, are in English. I’m no native speaker, but have the strong impression that ...more
I have a feeling that this book will age quite poorly, since it tackles pressing issues for humanity in the digital age, like fake news, digital privacy and underlying biases in otherwise objective algorithms. Some of ...more
Well, this was a good time. Best book I've read in quite a while. Another reviewer said it's been picked up for development by HBO, which I can only hope is correct.
I'll make an effort here to not repeat what others have said about this. I got to thinking at some point during reading & came to the conclusion that despite all the nice sounding ideas that always return to that concept of advancing tech. somehow leading to...more